Nayong Pilipino promotes safe space for LGBTQ+ community

The Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) has partnered with the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) and LGBTQ+ community to gather insights on creating a safer physical and cultural space inclusive for everyone.

A roundtable discussion titled “Umpukan sa Nayon” on 10 June, held at the NLP in Ermita Manila, has become an avenue to gather insights on gender sensitivity while also raising awareness of our complex history with the LGBTQ+ community.

The ideas gathered during the discussion will serve as a guide in creating the Nayong Pilipino Cultural and Creative Hub in the Entertainment City in Parañaque City.

These ideas included gender-sensitive designs like gender-equal comfort rooms, and a space showcasing the work of LGBTQ+ artists, among others.

According to NPF deputy executive director Dr. Jovertlee Pudan, “Umpukan sa Nayon” wants to shed light on pre-colonial practices in indigenous Filipino communities that involved members of the LGBTQ+.

Resource speakers during the roundtable discussion.

“Many of you might now know that long before the Spaniards colonized the Philippines, the country had a long history as far as the LGBTQIA+ community is concerned. The intention of this ‘Umpukan’ is to also shed light on pre-colonial practices within indigenous Filipino communities that involve members of the LGBTQIA+,” he said.

“The NPF aspires to not only be a green space but also a safe and inclusive space for everyone from all walks of life, regardless of gender and sexual orientation,” Pudan added.

Among the speakers during the discussion were Dondy Ramos, assistant professor of History from the University of the Philippines; Alvin Cloyd Dakis, a trainer for gender sensitivity; Amber Quiban, a transgender woman from the Cordilleras and a UP Diliman student; and Daniele Guevarra of Philippine Normal University Katalonan.

Ramos talked about the roles of the LGBTQ+ community during the pre-Hispanic period.

According to Ramos, local men dressed up in women’s apparel and acted like women long before the Spaniards came and were called babaylan and catalonan, among other things. They were significant not only because they crossed male and female gender lines. To the Spaniards, they were astonishing, even threatening, as they were respected leaders and figures of authority.

PNU student leader Guevarra emphasized that the LGBTQ+ community was accepted and treated with high regard before, saying, “Ang mga babaylan ay may pinanghahawakan na significant role sa pre-colonial era. Bakit noon accepted ang LGBTQIA+ community, bakit ngayon may reservations?”

Meanwhile, Dakis explained that a culture of acceptance will not be achieved if we don’t ask the involved persons and accommodate how they want to be addressed.

“The only way for you to know the pronoun that they use or their preferred name is to ask them with respect,” he said.

“One Day, hindi na natin kailangang ipaliwanag na ay trans woman ako, kasi tanggap na tayo (we do not have to explain that I’m a transwoman because we are already accepted) in the same way we were accepted thousands of years ago,” said Quiban of the UP Babaylan.

Watch the discussion at

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